Successful retail businesses are launching ecommerce stores, but most ecommerce sites don’t sell in person. That difference is surprisingly important.
It means that most ecommerce providers don’t really care about retail. And even if they “care”, they may simply not understand what retail businesses need. They may take certain processes for granted or just not realize how different the retail and online can be.
At Zing, we’ve seen hundreds of brick and mortar shops make the jump to online selling for the first time. We’ve seen how frustrating inadequate tools can be for a business.
Firstly, read the reviews online. You will find a variety of pros and cons, but there is a consensus that Bigcommerce offers the most built-in “out of the box” tools of any other eocmmerce platform on the market. That means you are ready to roll from day 1 and ready to grow on day 100.
Bigcommerce’s easy to use interface provides tools better suited to retail than any of the other ecommerce platforms we have experienced. And the combination with Zing’s retail-focused software provides a full package that the more generic all-in-one packages simply cannot offer.
Regardless of which software you are using, below are some of the features that any software suite should provide for a retail + ecommerce combination.
Understanding of Inventory, SKUs, and Barcodes
This is the #1 reason that we believe Bigcommerce is the best fit for retail businesses.
In ecommerce, businesses often get pretty flexible with how inventory is tracked. “Product”, “SKU”, “UPC”, “barcode” … these often become generic or interchangeable terms. However, when you have to have a point of sale that simplifies information for receipts and when you actually use barcodes, these terms have to mean something.
When you transfer products from Zing to Bigcommerce, it maintains the integrity of your products, SKUs, and barcodes. And Bigcommerce understands what information can be combined and what needs to stay separate. This allows both systems to share one inventory, all run from one dashboard.
Accounting (& other integrations)
Retail accounting is often more complex than ecommerce accounting. brick and mortar business have to track payroll, rent or other building prices, more physical spillage, and several other non-product expenses that even a large warehouse could ignore.
Bigcommerce and Zing both integrate into QuickBooks and Xero. This combination means all your financial information ends up in the same place.
The two systems also share several credit card gateway options. And Bigcommerce’s shipping modules have come in handy for a lot of the businesses we work with.
Take a glance at their full integration ecosystem to find the tools that will be most important for your business.
Retail Specific Tools for Point-of-Sale and more
There are dozens of advantages to using a true retail solution and not just a “mobile point-of-sale”. A lot of the all-in-one solutions offer very simple iPad-based POS options. Those are great for taking a quick sale on the fly, as long as it isn’t a recurring part of your business.
These advantages include:
- Reporting individual employee performance
- Cash drawer tracking for open, close, and miscellaneous cash withdrawals
- Tracking custom notes and information about in-person purchases for custom products or in-store services.
Remember that your business is (in some way) different from 90% of the other businesses that any software solution works with. Make sure you are looking for the best match.